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Sophia Gibson with her parents Darren and Danielle

Sophia Gibson, 7, in hospital after seizure while waiting for cannabis oil permit

A seven-year-old girl is in hospital following an epileptic seizure while her parents wait for permission to use cannabis oil to treat her condition.

Sophia Gibson, from Newtownards in Northern Ireland, suffers from Dravet syndrome, an extreme form of epilepsy.

She was rushed to hospital where she was placed in an induced coma after suffering a seizure on Tuesday but was taken off a ventilator on Wednesday morning.

“Sophia is off the ventilator and has been breathing on her own, which is a godsend,” her mother, Danielle Davis, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.


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Ms Davis, 30, and Sophia’s father, Darren Gibson, say cannabis oil relieves her symptoms.

They have applied for a licence for her to be treated with it in Northern Ireland but are yet to receive one.

“How much more Sophia can take of this, I just don’t know…I just hope she has enough fight in her to keep going,” she said.

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“No parent wants to see their child like this, and there are so many other children like Sophia, something needs to be done, there has been too much stalling (around medicinal cannabis),” she added.

Last month, a panel of experts led by the chief medical officer was set up to advise ministers on issuing licences for medical cannabis and has already begun accepting applications from doctors.

The move was prompted by the case of Billy Caldwell, 12, also from Northern Ireland, whose mother had a quantity of the oil confiscated at Heathrow Airport last month.

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In that case, Home Secretary Sajid Javid issued a licence for it to be used to treat Billy, who is severely epileptic.

Sophia has previously been treated with the medication when her family took her to the Netherlands.

Urging the Home Office and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to work to ensure Sophia gets her medication as quickly as possible, Ms Davis said: “We keep reiterating – Sophia does not have time.”

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She said she believes that if Sophia was being treated with medicinal cannabis oil, her seizure would have been much less severe.

“As a mother I just feel so horrible because I know there is something out there that can help Sophia, and if I was to bring it into this country, I am classed as a criminal,” she said.

Full story is available here.

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